Want to eat well and slim down? These prime eats are excellent at doing double-duty.
An apple a day can keep weight gain at bay. People who chomped an apple before a pasta meal ate fewer calories overall than those who had a different snack.
Plus, the antioxidants in apples may help prevent metabolic syndrome, a condition marked by excess belly fat or an “apple shape.”
Apples are the ideal on-the-go low-calorie snack. For a pie-like treat, chop up a medium apple and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp allspice and 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Pop in the microwave for 1 1/2 minutes.
Beef has a rep as a diet buster, but eating it may help you peel off pounds. Try to consume local organic beef; it’s healthier for you and the environment.
Grill or broil a 4-ounce serving of top round or sirloin; slice thinly to top a salad, or mix with veggies for fajitas.
Dig in to eggs, yolks and all: They won’t harm your heart, but they can help you trim inches.
Omelets and scrambles are obvious choices, but if you can’t cook before work, bake a frittata on Sunday; chill it and nuke slices for up to a week. An easy recipe: Vegetable Frittata
This green has been buzzy lately. One raw chopped cup contains 34 calories and about 1.3 grams of fiber, as well as a hearty helping of iron and calcium.
Mix chopped raw kale into cooked black beans. Or slice kale into thin strips, sautée it with vegetable broth, and top with orange slices. Make it a meal by tossing the mix with quinoa.
All oats are healthful, but the steel-cut and rolled varieties (which are minimally processed) have up to 5 grams of fiber per serving, making them the most filling choice. Instant oats contain 3 to 4 grams per serving.
Instead of using breadcrumbs, add oats to meat loaf—about 1 cup for a recipe that serves eight. Or try this recipe for turkey and oatmeal meatballs.
Lentils are a bona fide belly flattener. Eating them helps prevent insulin spikes that cause your body to create excess fat, especially in the abdominal area.
There are many varieties of lentils, but red and yellow cook fastest (in about 15 to 20 minutes). Add cooked lentils to pasta sauce for a heartier dish. Their mild flavor blends right in, and because they’re high in protein, you can skip meat altogether.
These chewy, tart berries have a hunger-curbing edge over other fruit: 18 amino acids, which make them a surprising source of protein. Snack on them mid-afternoon to stay satisfied until dinner. The calorie cost? Only 35 per tablespoon.
Mix 1/4 cup of the dried berries (from health food stores) with 1/4 cup raisins and 1/4 cup walnuts for a nourishing trail mix. Or for dessert, pour 1/4 cup boiling water into a bowl with 2 tbsp dried berries; let sit 10 minutes. Drain, then spoon over 1/2 cup lowfat vanilla frozen yogurt.
Not only do fish fats keep your heart healthy, but they shrink your waist, too. Omega-3 fatty acids improve insulin sensitivity—which helps build muscle and decrease belly fat. And the more muscle you have, the more calories your body burns. Opt for wild salmon; it may contain fewer pollutants.
You don’t need to do much to enhance salmon’s taste, says Sidra Forman, a chef and writer in Washington, D.C. “Simple is best. Season a fillet with salt and pepper, and then cook it in a hot pan with 2 tsp oil for 1 to 3 minutes on each side.”
Swap plain noodles for this hearty variety; you’ll slip into your favorite jeans in no time. Buckwheat is high in fiber and, unlike most carbs, contains protein, so it’s harder to overeat buckwheat pasta than the regular stuff.
Cook this pasta as you do rice: Simmer it, covered, over low heat. For a light meal, toss cooked buckwheat pasta with broccoli, carrots, mushrooms and onions. Or make buckwheat crepes using our tasty recipe.
All berries are good for you, but those with a blue hue are among the best of the bunch. They have the highest antioxidant level of all commonly consumed fruit. They also deliver 3.6 grams of fiber per cup.
Instead of topping your cereal with fruit, fill your bowl with blueberries, then sprinkle cereal on top and add milk or yogurt.
The juice gets all the hype for being healthy, but pomegranate seeds deserve their own spotlight. In addition to being loaded with folate and disease-fighting antioxidants, they’re low in calories and high in fiber, so they satisfy your sweet tooth without blowing your diet.
Pop the raw seeds on their own (many grocery stores sell them preshucked) as a snack at your desk. Use them in salads instead of nuts. They’re especially delicious on raw baby spinach with lemon-poppy seed dressing. For another take on the seeds, use our easy recipe for sweet and spicy pomegranate salsa.
One reason to spice up your meals: You’ll crank up your metabolism. A compound in chiles called capsaicin has a thermogenic effect, meaning it causes the body to burn extra calories for 20 minutes after you eat the chiles.
Stuff chiles with cooked quinoa and marinara sauce, then roast them. To mellow a chile’s heat, grill it until it’s almost black, peel off charred skin and puree the flesh. Add the puree to pasta sauces for a one-alarm kick. Or stir red pepper flakes into any dish you enjoy.
Curbing hunger is as easy as piling your plate with this whole grain. It packs both fiber (2.6 grams per 1/2 cup) and protein, a stellar nutrient combo that can keep you satisfied for hours.
Serve quinoa instead of rice with stir-fries, or try this take on a scrumptious hot breakfast: Cook 1/2 cup quinoa in 2/3 cup water and 1/3 cup orange juice for 15 minutes. Top with 1 tbsp each of raisins and chopped walnuts.
Don’t let the fat content of an avocado (29 grams) scare you—that’s what makes it a top weight loss food. The heart-healthy monounsaturated fat it contains increases satiety. And it’s terrific party food.
Add avocado to your sandwich instead of mayo for a creamy texture and a shot of flavor. Avocados do contain a lot of calories, so it’s best to watch your portions. One easy way to do it: Try Wholly Guacamole’s 100-calorie fresh guacamole packs (WhollyGuac.com). They’re easy to pack in your lunch and pair with chopped vegetables.
*Read the original article here: Self